Definition of the Language
Fortran, short for Formula Translation, is a general purpose programming language supporting imperative programming technique. The language is suited specifically to numeric and scientific computation. Fortran is normally deployed in areas using numerical and scientific computing extensively. These areas include but are not limited to weather prediction and finite data analysis.
Apart from that, Fortran has attained high rank in the super computers industry. The programs used for benchmarking such computers are written using this language. Fortran is a strongly typed programming language. This means that the language has a specific syntax and the compiler returns an error if any argument or expression does not follow the syntax.
This language is one of the oldest programming language. It is one of the forerunners that brought standard syntax to the programming world. However, it has been updated along the timeline according to the requirements of the users. This feature makes it a relevant high-level language for programmers in the field of numerical computation.
Due to the increasing popularity of this language, a number of online communities have sprung up that facilitate the users throughout the world. The users can post problems or bugs encountered during the use of this language and can get useful answers to their queries.
History of Fortran
The proposal that led to the inception of Fortran was submitted in 1953 by John W. Backus to his superiors in IBM. The engineer proposed to create a better alternative to program the mainframe computers. The result of the acceptance of this proposal was the completion of the Fortran language manual in 1956, along with its compiler in April 1957.
The new language blasted on the stage and created ease for the programmers. The first change was the massive reduction in the number of programming statements required to operate a machine. The language was accepted by the community engaged in numerical and scientific computing and this led to further updates in the language. Newer versions came with the name Fortran along with the year the version was issued. The last version to carry the name in capital letters was Fortran 77.
The initial release of Fortran had only 32 statements but at that time, it provided a very strong base to design code for mainframe computers. The result of such a design was the rapid usage of Fortran in mainframe code creation.
The latest stable release of Fortran is Fortran 2008 (ISO/IEC 1539-1:2010) which was launched in 2010.